Thoughts on Regret and “If Only”



Regret is such a consuming emotion. I have regretted some things I’ve done and, at other times, I’ve regretted things I haven’t done. Sometimes, I look back and think, “Why did I spend my time worrying about that?” or “Why didn’t I jump at that opportunity?” Maybe, everyone does that. Maybe, everyone lives with a little “if only” in their lives.

I was given the opportunity to read and review Michelle Van Loon’s book, If Only, which comes out in July. I was able to relate to so much of what she has written. She addresses both the regret of things done and things undone. As I read, however, the chapter on things undone really spoke to me. She mentions a couple of examples where people consciously chose to not do something and I know that is certainly the case at times. Life is messy and, well, we don’t always like messy.

Loving God and our neighbors isn’t always convenient. It is apt to splash someone else’s mess all over our tidy lives. (If Only – pg. 43)

We buy into the popular adage, Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I believe, however, it’s not always a conscious decision. We just get too busy. We get overwhelmed with our own stuff and forget to see people around us. We do not realize that we were not seeing people until someone walks away or something blows up in our face. {Hello, regret. Welcome, if only.}

Here is what I think. We will never regret taking time for people. We will never regret loving on someone. We may regret job choices and purchases and missed opportunities. Our biggest regrets, however, are going to be what we chose to do or not do for the people around us. Anytime we choose our own convenience over someone else’s need – regret is right around the corner. And, regardless of what we tell ourselves, it is a choice.

We learn to filter in order to protect ourselves from getting drained dry by those unrelenting requests. We discover how to avert our eyes and keep on walking. (If Only, pg. 45)

I had two opportunities, yesterday, to choose someone else’s need over my own convenience. I was at one of my least favorite grocery stores. I’ll spare you the name but the buggies are always squeaky and the floors are always sticky and the folks, well, they aren’t always friendly. I had two different opportunities to assist someone. I was in a hurry and, after spending time with the first, I avoided the second. I’ll let you guess which scenario I regretted later. That was my biggest take away from this book. Something done for the good of others or the glory of God will never result in regret. 


Get your copy of If Only: Letting Go of Regret!

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Regret and “If Only”

  1. Thanks, Stacy. Our regrets can prod us to live with greater intention today – a part of those “new mercies every morning”. Thanks for your reflections on If Only!

  2. Really liked the quote: “Something done for the good of others or the glory of God will never result in regret.” There is joy and freedom in that, isn’t there? Thanks for this Saturday morning meditation.

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